Appreciating all that makes America special

Americana: The Hollywood Bowl

The current Hollywood Bowl shell. Notice the Hollywood sign in the distance. Uploaded by

As an East Coaster, I admit I had the “Hollywood Bowl” all wrong. I thought the name referred to the band shell, which (especially before its 2004 renovation) looked like a set of cooking bowls to me. But I find that the “bowl” actually represents the amphitheater’s setting in a natural “bowl” in Hollywood. Before the site was first developed in 1922, it was called “Daisy Dell.”

Big improvement.

A view that shows the reason it's the Hollywood "Bowl." Uploaded by

The current shell is actually the fifth for the popular bandstand. The one most of us remember (the cooking bowls) lasted from 1929 through 2003, when its acoustics were no longer able to keep up with the increased development in the surrounding area. Traditionalists fought the change – it’s what traditionalists do – but no one disputes the improved sound quality now produced.

So, what kind of performances does the nearly 18,000 seat amphitheater host? Well, in the current month you can hear classical music from Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Handel, and Beethoven… an 80s night with the B-52s, The Fixx, and Berlin… a sing-along of The Sound of MusicGershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue… and the AFI’s Great American Movie Quiz, hosted by Alex Trebek. No wonder the Hollywood Bowl has maintained its special place in the hearts of Californians for almost 90 years.

Today’s video was filmed at the Hollywood Bowl, but you hardly even see it in the clip. Still, it’s a classic bit from Monty Python, and you’ll just have to imagine the thousands of people watching it:

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One Comment

  1. Nice to hear about the Bowl again.  I went to many concerts there in the 60s and 70s…  Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkle…  But the most fun was the 1812 complete with cannons!   It was a great place to spend a summer’s evening.